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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Source of Docbook + MathML -> PDF examples?

On Tue, Sep 19, 2006 at 02:02:13PM -0500, Chris Chiasson wrote:
> One free way to go from MathML to pdf is via SVG Math, a python
> script. I intended to use this script to make my inline math have the
> correct baseline shift, but I haven't done anything with it yet. Do
> you really intend to use FOP instead of XEP or Arbortext E3? I hope
> you like full page width tables.

    I'm not attached to FOP, it just seems to be what I see written
about more than anything else as a PDF generator. But we do need a tool
that runs on both Windows and Linux, and is free, or at least cheap, for
users in our standards group.

    I have found the Docbook toolchain issue very hard to get my head
around - much more so than Docbook itself. There are many different
options, all of them have partisans, it's hard to tell what will support
the particular set of features we're likely to use, both the format and
the tools are evolving all the time... confusing.

> What I currently do for PDFs with math is to generate an EPS form of
> the equation. If it is an inline equation (where an EPS will not give
> the correct baseline shift without some extra doing), I check to see
> if the math can be represented as a string of characters with
> superscripts and subscripts. If so, then I output the DocBook markup
> for the string. If it is more complicated than that, I currently go
> with the EPS.
> I generate it all automatically (including the MathML, the EPSs, the
> conditional formatting, etc). It doesn't look bad when I use the
> personal edition of XEP.

    I'll take a look at it, but their pricing model may be out of the
question for us - and I'm reluctant to bind us to a proprietary tool, as
well. One reason I've been pushing Docbook in our group is that it's an
open and flexible alternative to Word / Framemaker / etc.

    Thanks for the suggestions! Hopefully someone has solved the
imbedded math problem in a robust way we can leverage. If not we may
have little choice but to stay with our current melange of formats, at
least until the Docbook tools get better. I'm not going to have much
luck convincing someone who's been editing an API specification in Word
that he now has to run a build process on two different operating
systems, simply to get a publishable document with some equations in it.


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